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Remembered Today:

Roll of Honour 1914-15 Capt Lord D Fitzgerald Irish Guards


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There is often more to picture than meets the eye. Lord Desmond Fitzgerald was killed in a grenade accident at Calais. Just a few years ago a couple of Americans claimed he did not die in France at all, but was spirited out of the trenches, to the USA, because he had allegedly been involved in the Irish Republican Brotherhood prior to the war. This was, they claimed, an embarrassment to the British government and the whole affair was a cover up. The pair claimed that he died in the 1960's in America. One of them , a US businessman,claimed to be his rightful heir and the other claimed to be his daughter. The latter apparently hired UK genealogists to prove their theory and did actually place a claim with the Department of Constitutional Affairs asking that the title be

bestowed on the US businessman. It came to nought. If they had bothered to research the subject properly, they could have saved themselves some money, as a full account of his death is held at the NA and makes for some interesting reading. He was killed by a fragment of a grenade, thrown by the battalion padre, which detonated prematurely during a practice in the Calais dunes. The padre, who apparently had joined in these practices before, lost an eye and some fingers and other members of the party, including battalion bombing officer and some of his instructors, were wounded.

Any cover up would have to included all those involved in the grenade practice, the CO of the battalion, the Brigade Commander who ordered the enquiry into the incident - including the board members; the medical officer who treated him, and probably a number of senior officers in the Adjutant General's Department including the formidable Director of Personnel, Brigadier General Borlaise Wyndham Childs. The odd thing is, that there was no estate to go with the title, all of which had been gambled away many years before. The present title holder, who has never publicly commented about all this, is a landscape gardener.


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I post the pictures so Pals can get a name to a face along with stories.

What a story this is. can we say friendly fire?



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The accident occurred on the 3 March 1916 when a party of Irish Guardsmen were practising with Mills Bombs under the command of Lieutenant Hanbury. The Bn Chaplain the Rev.R.J. Lane Fox was present, possibly because he wanted to practise bombing?

As Lord Desmond Fitgerald was passing he called out " Hulloa Father are you going to throw a bomb". The bomb exploded as the Chaplain released it from his hand wounding him in the eye and hand. Fitzgerald caught the full force of the explosion, being badly wounded and unconscious he was taken to N0 9 Red Cross Hospital where he died. He is buried in Calais Southern Cemetery.

Lane Fox blamed himself but it was generally considered at the time that the Mills Bomb was defective and would have gone off prematurely.

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Any search of the internet will bring up at least three different versions of the event.

What is confusing is that some of them are not true, and so were invented by someone for whatever purpose.

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